J.P. Crawford helps paint a mural of J.P. Crawford
The Seattle Mariners have commissioned a new mural close to their home field, T-Mobile Park, in SoDo. Local artist Alexander Codd said for his first project of this size he got help from some friends, including Gold Glove shortstop J.P. Crawford.
Alexander Codd had never painted something this big before. Codd only got the gig, he said, “by mere chance and accident” while helping another artist on a different mural.
But after 46 days of painting and 17 rainouts this wet Seattle spring, Codd stood before his first mural covering the side of a building on Fourth Avenue South.
The mural depicts the downtown Seattle skyline silhouetted by splatters of Mariners-teal paint. In massive letters to the right is the team motto, "SEA US RISE." At the far end of the mural is a portrait of shortstop J.P. Crawford, his 6-foot-tall face roaring with excitement. The bright neon colors against the black backdrop give the whole wall a buzzing electric feel like the paint is pulsating off the concrete.
One of the hardest parts of painting the mural, Codd said, was getting those dozens of paint splatters just right. He wanted them to look like he flicked a huge paintbrush at the side of the wall.
“We tried a lot of methods,” Codd said, pointing at a few of the bright teal splatters. “We tried the sponge and it looked kinda Martha Stewart-y a little bit. So it was definitely tricky.”
One night, Codd got the idea to fill water balloons with paint and throw them at the wall to get better splatters.
“And then I was like, you know what would be really cool? If we had some of the players come by the wall and paint with some paint balloons,” Codd said.
And who better to throw paint at a mural of J.P. Crawford than the Gold Glove-winning shortstop himself. In April Crawford showed up to the mural and hurled a bucket of paint balloons at the wall, achieving the splatter effect Codd was looking for.
“So all of the sporadic splatter ones that look like actual paintballs, those are all J.P.’s little touches,” Codd said, pointing to some streaks of paint at the very top of the mural. “It was kind of a little collab. in a way, which is cool.”
Codd said Crawford hung out for about an hour at the mural and got some blue paint on his fingers.
“He didn’t seem to mind at all,” Codd said. A photo of Crawford from that day shows him holding up his paint-stained hands with a smile.
The rest of the Mariners organization is also pleased with the mural. Greg Greene, VP of Marketing for the team, said in a statement, “we are thrilled with how Alexander’s mural turned out… or should we say Alexander & J.P.’s mural. We have to give our Gold Glove shortstop some credit for his artistic contributions!”
Codd said it was Greene who first talked to him about doing the mural while Codd was assisting friends with a different project. Greene writes that, “we think this piece is a wonderful representation of the excitement and energy around our young and dynamic team. We can’t wait to commission additional murals in neighborhoods throughout the city in the coming months and years ahead.”
For his first mural, Codd not only got help from major league baseball players but family and friends, too. Codd’s friend Nick Crespinel and Crespinel's father, James, are the muralists Codd was helping when he got the Mariners job. Also Codd’s dad, Bob, a former painting contractor, helped with the Mariners mural.
“This was like the sons’ wall and the pops were there to kind of lend a hand,” Codd said, “it’s going to be a heavy, deep-seated memory as time goes on.”
Looking up at the completed mural, Codd said he’s honored that Greene and the Mariners hired him for the job.
“Especially considering I really didn’t have the portfolio for exterior, large work like this,” Codd said. “Had they not taken a chance on me I wouldn’t have been able to showcase what I’m really capable of — and so I’m really thankful for that.”
The new Mariners mural is located at 1702 Fourth Avenue South, about a block south of the ballpark.